S-1026

Establishes VETeach Pilot Program” in the Department of Education to facilitate the teacher certification of veterans.

NJEA supports S-1026 (Whelan, Connors).  This bill would establish a pilot program at Richard Stockton College that would enable veterans to complete the requirements of a teacher preparation program within the timeframe of their benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.   Participants will be able to apply to the State Board of Examiners for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing, which authorizes the holder to seek employment as a teacher.

The GI Bill is meant to help veterans further their education.  However, it only provides 36 months of benefits.  A typical teacher preparation program usually takes at least four years to complete.  Due to the specialized nature of certain courses in a teacher preparation program, their sequence and prerequisites, it might not be possible to take all of the required coursework in 36 months. 

The pilot program, while not changing any of the requirements to become a teacher, will allow veterans to finish their studies while covered by their education benefits.   It should also have a positive effect on students and schools, as it will attract non-traditional candidates to the teaching profession.

This bill is a win-win.  NJEA asks you to vote yes on S-1026.